Renewable Resources: An Earth-Friendly Choice

Renewable Resources Incense-cedarDefinition: renewable resources; a natural resource that can be used to benefit people and can then be replaced for other people to enjoy.

Antonym: non-renewable resource; a resource that is in limited supply and cannot be replaced once it has been extracted and used.

Differences between these two kinds of natural resources have a lot to do with where they’re from!

For example, perhaps your shirt and jeans are made from cotton, which comes from a plant. Farmers harvest the cotton crop every year, but the plants grow back and produce more. Cotton, like Incense-cedar trees and all growing plants and trees, are renewable resources! Young saplings grown in nurseries can be replanted to grow a new forest as well as a forest can grow from natural regeneration of the seeds.

Incense-cedar trees, along with other species, grow in California and Oregon forests that are managed on a sustained-yield basis to ensure that the trees are not cut down at a rate faster than new ones are growing. The result? A stable long-term supply.

Non-renewable resources are things that are extracted or mined from the Earth, such as petroleum, coal and metals. These resources were created many millions of years ago, when the Earth was forming. Once they are taken out of the ground, they are not replaced. Since there is only so much oil, and the earth cannot replace the oil that is pumped out, we will eventually run out of this non-renewable resource.

Some non-renewable resources are recyclable in that they can be recovered from their prior use to be used again. A good example of this would be aluminum from aluminum cans, old cars or other products. Many types of plastic (made from petroleum oil) are also recyclable. Today, more and more products are being produced from recycled or reclaimed raw materials.

Can you think of how old, used short pencils might get recycled?